In its next big product expansion, sustainable shoe brand Rothy's on Thursday launched into the men's category with two styles: a sneaker and a loafer. The launch was eight years in the making, the DTC brand said in details emailed to Retail Dive.
The shoes are machine washable and made from recycled materials, including plastic water bottles. The company's 3D knitting technique means there's a 75% lower carbon footprint created from men's upper production compared to the industry average, according to Rothy's.
The RS01 Sneaker and the Driving Loafer go for $175 and $185, respectively. The launch comes after previous expansions into kids and women's accessories.
Rothy's is expanding its reach. The men's launch is its "most requested category to date," Chris Hull, senior vice president of Men's, said via email.
Similarly to the rest of its offering, sustainability was at the core of the launch. The men's products are made with recycled and eco-friendly materials and "designed to last through hundreds of washes and wears," Hull said. They also mirror the women's product by focusing on classic styles and emphasizing comfort in addition to sustainability.
"Men's has always been our most requested category, and we see great potential for it to grow and expand on a comparable trajectory to our women's business," Hull said.
The past year has been big for Rothy's. The brand achieved profitability on a full-year basis throughout 2020 and recently expanded on its sustainability commitments, including plans to pilot a recycling program this year, achieve zero-waste manufacturing in 2022 and reach circular production and carbon neutrality by 2023.
As part of the recycling program, products will be broken down and the materials used again. Rothy's is hoping it can introduce twice-recycled materials into production in 2022 and use a majority of twice-recycled or bio-based materials by 2023.
"We own our factory and control an incredibly tight supply chain, mitigating challenges faced by traditional retailers and giving us remarkable visibility into every step of our product lifecycle," Hull said of the brand's sustainability efforts. "We use recycled and eco-friendly materials, produce efficiently to minimize waste, and work to minimize our environmental footprint every step of the way."
The design and development of the men's collection took place primarily during the pandemic, which meant a lot of prototyping and product testing without visiting the factory, but Rothy's isn't the only DTC that's been focused on the future during a challenging time for many. Similarly, sustainable shoe brand Allbirds debuted apparel in October, Knix launched swimwear in May of last year and even more DTC brands have been on the move in the first few months of 2021.
Among them, MeUndies got into swimwear, ThirdLove expanded to loungewear, Native moved into both hair care and sunscreen, and Thinx brought its leak-proof technology to activewear. Hull shied away from specifics on Rothy's future growth opportunities, but did note that the retailer would continue to "grow our community through new products and retail stores."